Warm weather, little precipitation and the water below Carbondale looking like chocolate milk. Meanwhile the Pan is absolutely pristine and the water from Basalt and higher up on the Fork is fishable. So in brief, the Pan offers the best fishing for hundreds of miles around. We had a number of visitors in town along the river on Saturday indicating that word has already begun to get out about the quality of the water. And with the prediction of continuing warm weather, the freestone waters will continue to deteriorate while the Pan remains excellent.
The flow in the Fork has been climbing for the past week. At the moment is it 515cfs and still rising. It is a nice level to float, but the quality of the water will continue to deteriorate as the week progresses.
For the next week the temperatures are predicted to be in the mid sixties until Wednesday with the temperatures dropping a little by the end of the week. Thunderstorms and rain are predicted throughout the week so we will have to see if they are as fleeting as they were this weekend. The key to the run-off is the overnight temperature and with the prediction of lows in the 40's there is little opportunity for much cold overnight to slow down the melt as it gathers pace. The tributaries to the Pan, though having risen a little remain very clean indicating that the warmer temperatures have had little effect so far. But it is only a matter of a few days of hot weather and those flows will pick up further.
Overall now, the best fishing is the full length of the Frying Pan with some good fishing above Basalt. If you are coming up ring the shop and get an updated report on the conditions.
Current Flow: below the Dam 77cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Still excellent fishing on the Pan and it remains the destination of choice with all freestones either blown out or in the process of blowing out. This weekend we saw a number of fishermen along the full length of the Pan, yet there were many pull-offs offering great fishing which did not have any parked cars.
There are midges and BWO's coming off during the day making for a range of hatches. Despite the prediction of some rain and showers in the coming week, with the probability set below 50% for most days it is more than likely that the warmer to hot weather will continue. If there is any cloud cover that will benefit the BWO hatches greatly. And with the water still running at 77cfs the fish make straight for the deeper more protected water on the bright days. In the bright light they are particularly leader shy where they have been under pressure over winter. So if you are fishing dries try and fish in water with some disturbance and use light tippet such as 9X and 10X if the fish react to a heavier tippet.
When it is particulary bright fish emergers just under the surface or try for the shade where the sun won't reflect off the leader.The fishing has been excellent and will remain the best fishing for a long way for the next month or so unless we get a cold snap which stops the rise in the run-off and lets it clear.
Recommended Flies: The longer days are beginning to be noticed as the sun stays above the high surrounding peaks a little longer each day. If the sun is out try and stay in the light. But if it is heavy and overcast it makes little difference.
There are mostly midge hatches but a few BWO's are starting to come off internittently near the dam. The fish will take tiny baetis nymphs like tiny pheasant tails if they see them enough. So try small black and olive patterns #24 and #26 as well as brassies to get them down. The fish are also taking BWO emergers now, so use the FPA baetis emergers, the sparkle baetis, rs2's and other small emerger patterns.
The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try WD-40's #20, red and black chironocones #20, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, black polywings #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22. Mike reported great success this week on smaller black midges such as the miracle midge.
As they come off try the gray loopwing emergers #20 - #22, the FPA special emergers, biot emergers both with and without the trailing shuck and gray RS2's #18 - #22. In addition try dry patterns such as the z-wing real midge, suspended midge and any similar dry black and gray patterns in sizes from #20 through to #26, loopwing emergers #20 - #22 and FPA special emergers #20 - #26.
With the Fork having jumped another 130cfs over the past week it is now more than double its flow just 2 weeks ago. Consequently the only good fishing is above Basalt. From Carbondale down it is just a mess and flowing chocolate milk so if you are coming up, just keep coming to Basalt and then stop in at the shop for a report. It might be worth traveling higher up, or it might be best to just turn left and fish the Pan.
Recommended Flies: The midges are getting more prolific and larger as we approach spring. In addition to midges, the stone fly nymphs are starting to move about in the water. Beatis are also moving about as well and coming off intermittently. The most reliable results now will be nymphing with eggs, princes, midge emergers, hare's ears, 20 inchers and other attractor patterns.
Another week of warm weather and with the Crystal pouring liquid mud into the Fork, the Colorado is not worth fishing. It is dirty all the way back to the Eagle River as well, so unless we get freezing overnight temperatures for a week to slow down the melt, the best thing is to make a turn at Highway 82 and come up to Basalt for some good water.
Recommended Flies: eggs, attractors, stonefly nyphs, baetis nymphs and midges.